After the five regattas and 45 non-discardable races that comprise this season’s, 2016 52 SUPER SERIES, Quantum Racing lifted the overall title with a comprehensive margin of 59 points over second placed Azzurra. On the last day of the season, Niklas Zennström’s Rán Racing won a very close four-cornered battle for third place and was also crowned top owner-driver.
Quantum Racing won four regattas – Scarlino, Puerto Cervo, Puerto Portals and Mahón – including the 2016 world championship title in Mahón, Menorca. Any possible clean sweep of all five regatta titles was halted last week in Cascais, Portugal when the resurgent Azzurra secured the regatta win of the season.
The 52 SUPER SERIES has gone from strength to strength in 2016. Thirteen different TP52 teams representing eight different nations competed over the course of the season, with boats from France (1), Germany (1), Great Britain (3), Italy (2), Russia (1), Sweden (1), Turkey (1), and USA (3). Crews new to the 52 SUPER SERIES this season included Peter Harrison’s Sorcha (GBR) and Richard Cohen’s Phoenix (USA). The circuit visited two venues that were new to the class, Scarlino in Tuscany where the circuit started in May, and Maóon, Menorca where the world championship – the fourth regatta of the year – was sailed in a wide range of conditions.
In cooperation with sustainability partners 11th Hour Racing, the 52 SUPER SERIES continued to make considered, regular advances at each regatta, in terms of the support and activation of the teams, developing new initiatives and mapping out future ideals and goals which have been signed up to by all the teams. Strong and popular support was garnered from local sailing youth groups at each venue, the young sailors also enjoying the interaction with some of the top pro sailors in the world.
After nine new boats were launched in 2015, the level of competition took an immediately obvious step up this season. A week of pre-season training in March in Valencia for five boats was a clear indicator that teams were keen to make sure they started the season strongly. This was further underlined by a nine-boat entry for the pre-season warm up event, Gaastra Palma Vela.
So Scarlino witnessed the fleet at full bore, optimised and sailing at their best from the get-go. Ten boats raced an eight race series. Four different boats led the regatta, before Quantum Racing – with Ed Baird steering – won by six points.
Puerto Cervo for the Audi Settimana delle Bocche saw a real mix of conditions, climaxing in a 20-22kts finale. With Doug DeVos returning to the helm of Quantum Racing, the American-flagged team went two in a row.
At Puerto Portals Sailing Week in Mallorca there was no stopping Quantum Racing either. Azzurra continued to work relentlessly to close the gap and there were signs that the balance was being redressed.
The 52 World Championship represented a chance to bid for the coveted stand alone title, to break free of the hierarchy that was starting to be established. The battle for third and fourth places for the season was hotting up with very little to choose from between Rán Racing, Provezza, Platoon and Bronenosec. Menorca proved a very popular venue offering a warm welcome; great, open racing conditions; and a pleasant pace of life ashore.
Cascais was the climax of the season. With two racing days still to go, Quantum Racing converted their big lead to their third title in four years, adding 2016 to 2013 and 2014. Between Menorca and Cascais, Azzurra won nine races and secured the EGNOS 52 SUPER SERIES Cascais Cup on the last race, leaving Quantum Racing to second place.
2016 52 SUPER SERIES Final Overall Standings
- Quantum Racing, 140 pts
- Azzurra, 199 pts
- Rán Racing, 241 pts
- Platoon, 245pts
- Provezza, 248 pts
- Bronenosec Gazprom, 251 pts
- Sled, 275 pts
- Alegre, 283 pts
- Gladiator, 342 pts